Alcohol use is one of the strongest predictors of acquaintance rape on college campuses (Koss, 1988; Loiselle, 2004), where half of all rape cases involve the use of alcohol by the rapist, victim, or both (Abbey, 2002; Abbey et al., 2001;

Hensley, 2002; Marx et al., 1999).

For men, alcohol seems to “sexualize” the environment around them. Cues that might be taken as neutral if the men were not drunk (such as a certain woman talking to them or dancing with them) may be seen as an indication of sexual interest (Abbey et al., 2005). In addition, alcohol increases the chances of engaging in risky sexual behaviors (O’Hare, 2005).

For women, alcohol may lead to increased teasing and flirting, which sends ambiguous messages. Like alcohol use in men, women under the influence of al­cohol engage in risky sexual behaviors (Maisto et al., 2004; O’Hare, 2005; see Chapter 15 for a discussion of high-risk sexual behaviors). Muehlenhard and Cook (1988) found that 43% of college women reported regretting sexual inter­course they engaged in while intoxicated. For a woman, being drunk is one of the strongest risk factors for being sexually victimized (B. S. Fisher et al., 2000).

Women who get drunk are more likely to be viewed as “loose” or sexually “easy”

(Parks & Scheidt, 2000). These views help put blame on the women who have been raped. Unfortunately, when a woman experiences a rape while drunk she is more likely to blame herself and often will not label the attack as a rape even when it clearly was (L. G. Hensley, 2002).

Question: What if you are drunk and she is too, and when you wake up in the morning she says you raped her?

Claims of rape must be taken seriously. This is why men and women should be very careful in using alcohol and engaging in sexual activity. The best approach would be to delay engaging in sexual activity if you have been drinking. This way, you will not find yourself in this situation

Alcohol and Rape Alcohol and Rape

Alcohol use on college campuses, as it relates to rape, is viewed very differently for men and women. A man who is drunk and is accused of rape is seen as less responsible because he was drinking (“Lighten up; he was so smashed he didn’t even know what he was doing”); a woman who has been drinking is seen as more responsible for her behav­ior (“Can you believe her? She’s had so much to drink that she’s flirting with everyone— what a slut!”; Richardson & Campbell, 1982; Scully & Marolla, 1983). In court, women who have been drinking or were drunk are more likely to be discredited.

Athletes and Rape

Male athletes have been found to be disproportionately overrepresented as assailants of rape by women surveyed (Locke & Mahalik, 2005; Sawyer et al., 2002). In addition, ath­letes who participate on teams that produce revenue have higher rates of sexually abu­sive behavior than athletes on teams that don’t produce revenue (Koss & Gaines, 1993; McMahon, 2004). Researchers suggest that perhaps it is the sense of privilege that con­tributes to a view of the world in which rape is legitimized. Playing sports may also help connect aggression and sexuality.

Some researchers suggest that it may be this need to be aggressive and tough while playing sports that helps create problems off the field (Boeringer, 1999; T. J. Brown et al., 2002). One male athlete explains:

You can be the nicest guy, but when you step on that mat, you’ve gotta flip a switch. You’ve gotta go nuts, and you’ve gotta become an animal. Within the rules, but you’ve gotta go out there and you’ve gotta be so intense. You have to just break that guy. (McMahon, 2004, p. 10).

Many male athletes may also have a distorted view of women, which often revolves around views expressed in the locker room. Locker room talk often includes derogatory language about women (including the use of words such as “sluts” or “bitches” to de­scribe women), whereas those athletes who are not playing well are referred to as “girls” (McMahon, 2004).

Studies have also been done on female athletes, who often believe they are less at risk than female nonathletes (McMahon, 2004). When asked about the potential for a female athlete to be raped, one woman said:

I think it would be a shock to a female athlete—because, we feel that we’re so tough. . . . I always am kidding around that like, I could sit on a guy and knock the wind out of him and the idea of a guy taking advantage of me seems. . . well, that could never happen. . . . I work out all the time, I’m so strong. . . . I’m not some little girl. I’m tough. (McMahon, 2004, p. 16).

Compared to female nonathletes, female athletes are more likely to blame the victim for a rape and believe that some women who are raped have put themselves in a bad situa­tion (McMahon, 2004). Overall, female athletes have more negative attitudes about date rape than male athletes (Holcomb et al., 2002).